Cross-fertilization of asset management with resilience and reliability
Increasing complexity, interdependency and connectivity through digitalization characterize the current society and the engineering systems involved. The World Congress 2019 in Singapore offered a forum for cross-fertilization across the disciplines by bringing the professionals in asset management, reliability and resilience together.
The ongoing disruptive trends such as digitalisation, automation, novel business models and the emergence of cyber-physical systems (CPS) have resulted in increased connectivity within and between infrastructure and industrial systems. This development leads to the increasing complexity of the systems of systems and creates challenges in the design, operation, maintenance and renewal of the assets. World Congress on Asset Management (WCEAM) is an annual conference that displays the recent development in the technologies, methodologies, processes and tools in the engineering asset management. In this year, the WCEAM was organized as a track in the Resilience, Reliability and Asset Management (WCRRAM) conference in Singapore. The event brought together scientists, policymakers, and practitioners from different continents to share the latest knowledge, approaches and experiences to make interdependent infrastructure and industrial systems more robust and resilient.
The congress and the networking opportunities provided a platform to cross-fertilize ideas and develop new insights for the management of future engineering assets. The topics of the engineering asset management track addressed major sectors of the capital-intensive industries, mining, public infrastructure, and service industry asset management. The reliability track highlighted the key issues of asset management including system reliability and safety, and prognostic health monitoring of complex systems. The resilience track sessions emphasized the importance of the societal aspects of infrastructure and industrial systems including metrics, modelling and design for resilience (robustness, recoverability).
Eras of reliability optimization
World-class keynote speakers’ presentations provided interesting thoughts and laid the groundwork for reflections during the technical sessions. The keynote provided by Professor David W. Coit from the Rutgers University, USA, addressed the development of the reliability engineering as a path through three identified eras. These were the eras of mathematical programming, pragmatism and active reliability improvement. He highlighted the progress from individual analyses towards continuous improvement, the progress from dynamic programming to integrated design and optimization techniques for complex systems. The discussion related to the era of active reliability improvement well covered the aspects also highlighted by the current conference, namely integration with new data, continuous optimization and consideration of resiliency.
Advanced safety analysis methods needed for autonomous machinery
Research results and practical experiences of system safety engineering methods for autonomous vehicles were shared in three presentations. Applications of systems engineering principles, V-model framework as well as software safety issues in complex systems were discussed. Safety requirements and technologies for autonomous vehicles are still strongly evolving. Research on innovative safety engineering and risk mitigation methodologies are needed to be able to manage risk arising from the higher levels of vehicle autonomy and to enhance the safety of autonomous systems.
System modelling and multi-criteria analysis methods for safety analysis of complex control systems were discussed in several presentations. Use cases and experiences from aviation, military and energy sectors were introduced. Ms Yuan Yuan from Beihang University presented a safety analysis method for vehicle systems having complex coupling relationships in the perspective of time, space, function, structure and other aspects because of the influence of the condition of the operator, equipment under control and the operating environment. The method is based on functional resonance method (FRAM), Bayesian model under multi-factor coupling to analyze the coupling effect of human, machine and environment and their influences on the behaviour of complex systems.
Asset management is getting smarter, but how?
Mr. Brandon Lee from Intech Process Automation shared thoughts about the adoption of Industry 4.0 and particularly concepts for the effective use of data in different use cases in his keynote. Features of Smart asset management were discussed; more specifically Mr. Lee addressed the opportunity to orchestrate efficient operation with optimal resource utilization through smart assets and methods with capabilities to detect and predict inefficiencies. Furthermore, there is an increasing need to design digital twins alongside with the physical products and to arrange the related data collection. He also acknowledged that new business models, such as digitalization as a service, digital twin as a service, manufacturing as a service and intelligence as a service, will play an important role in the future. These issues also offer an important domain for further research and development. Panel discussion on “Digitalisation of the World and its Impacts on Resilience” chaired by Prof Hans Heinimann (ETH Zurich) addressed several topical issues that are common for resilience, engineering asset management and reliability optimization.
Digital twins and shadows
The concept of digital shadow for determining the value contribution of maintenance and maintenance services was introduced by Frederick Birtel from FIR at RWTH Aachen University. The determination of actual value of maintenance services for companies should not cover only the optimization of direct but especially of indirect costs. The problem for companies in this context is that they do not know which data they have to record in order assess indirect costs and maintenance value contribution respectively. Antonio de la Fuente from University of Seville addressed the practical methodology, asset criticality and health index (AHI), for planning major overhaul and equipment renovation. AHI takes into account the importance of the assets for the business (asset criticality) and determines the asset health projections over time and NPV of the different technical alternatives. Moreover, several presentations comprised the need for novel maintenance strategies and data-based business models where the entire life cycle of products and services is reconsidered.
Harnessing the life cycle value from industrial assets
The technical sessions for asset management addressed a variety of topics related to e.g. digitalization, asset services, investment appraisal and maintenance planning and strategy optimization. Industrial and infrastructure viewpoints were covered and methodologies and frameworks presented from both asset owner and service provision perspectives.
The sessions provided interesting insights into the value creation for industrial asset management. In this research area, the focus in the conference was especially on the research and the real life uses of valuation of data and the value contribution of maintenance services as well as the role and value of digitalization in asset management. The fact is that the digitalization of manufacturing processes creates vast amounts of maintenance and production data available to companies and to entire business ecosystems. Dr. Salla Marttonen-Arola from University of Sunderland outlined the role of data role in asset management decision-making and presented the results of a case study on evaluating the value of data-based profitability of investing in a CMMS. Moreover, several innovative value-driven approaches were introduced in the congress. Sanyapong Petchrompo presented an optimisation model for vehicle fleet maintenance scheduling and Andrew Hoisington outlined a model to reduce lifecycle costs for infrastructure assets. Many of the presentations emphasized the need for novel strategies and business models of sharing risks and benefits when implementing advanced technologies. Ype Wijnia presented an approach for modelling the consequences of various asset replacements in terms of cost, risk and performance.
The WCRRAM congress revealed that the valuation of data and maintenance services in the context of engineering asset management is highly topical and that the value of the data is not fully understood yet. Future research is needed e.g., on assessment and realization of value of data for different stakeholders in industrial value networks. Relevant topics include business models, contract types, risk management, and measurement and demonstration of the value of data.
The asset management journey continues in Brazil and Spain
The asset management journey continues from Asia in South-America, as WCEAM 2020 takes place in Bonito, Brazil. The World Congress (http://wceam.com/ ) will be hosted by the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul. In 2021, the WCEAM event will be held in Europe in Seville, Spain and the University of Seville will host the congress.
Text: Helena Kortelainen, Toni Ahonen,
Minna Räikkönen & Risto Tiusanen,
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.
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